CHOICE membership

Our Energy Future -worthless performance guarantee on solar power

Have any other Choice members found that solar power systems installed by Flextronics, under the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils’ Our Energy Future Program, have failed to meet the production guarantee?
We have taken the matter up with Skybridge which has taken over the warranty. They sent the issue to the legal department of Flextronics in September which has failed to respond. We have taken it to Fair Trading and as Flextronics has still not responded we now have to proceed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Is anyone else having this problem?

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Welcome to the Choice Community Forum Christina :slight_smile:

I used to maintain the Energy Matters Forum, which was owned by Flextronics at the time (they pulled out of Australia a while ago), and last I heard they claimed they would be honouring any warranty claims. I think they left a few staff on to handle claims, but my information is not up to date. It appears they have handed that over to Skybridge now, who I hadn’t heard of until now.

What is the problem with your system? Recent high smoke levels over Sydney will have greatly reduced PV system output.

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As a resident of outer Melbourne and having installed a PV system just over a year ago, none of the companies I engaged with had guarantees of production, only best case profiles generated from historical climate/weather data, my lat/long, and the PV panel aspect. For example, the proposals came with graphics like this.

Did Flextronics or its suppliers make such data into guarantees? FWIW my system misses these numbers many months because of bad weather and clouds - neither surprising in NE Melbourne - not because the process to generate the scenarios was flawed or the system improperly designed to be able to hit those numbers when the weather is accommodating.

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Yes, I believe they did give guarantees for some PV systems. For leased systems at least, I think they were supposed to make up any financial result shortfalls. I’m not certain, but think it also applied to systems purchased outright.
This started with SunEdison, after they bought out Energy Matters, but then then they went bust in a big way due to the ridiculous amount of money being spent on acquisitions, and that’s when Flextronics appeared on the scene.

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If the performance guarantee would be this document

with this clause (and a few others that seem less onerous re the guarantee)

4.WHEN YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A REMEDY
You are not entitled to a remedy when your solar system does not meet the Performance Guarantee due to … actual weather values deviate from the site irradiation and temperature mean values used in calculating the Performance Guarantee outputs.

Clever marketing!

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The guarantee also seems to be for estimated yields and not real yieldslprevailing weather conditions will affect real yields … but estimated yields are based on 15 years of recorded weather data.

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Hi Gordon
Yes, they did give us a production guarantee on the system we purchased. The email from Energy Matters with the proposal says “Energy Matters will guarantee the annual system production, we can pay you if there is a production shortfall.” The proposal also refers to the production guarantee and estimates 4, 936 kWh in the first year (3.54 kW system -12 panels). It is about 400 kWh short of the guarantee for the first year.

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Thanks. I’ve looked back over my paperwork and see that the get out clauses in relation to the production guarantee are on the ‘Installation and Commissioning’ sheet and not on the Proposal. So we weren’t presented with it until it was installed. We haven’t reached the end of the second year but theGinlong monitoring data suggests it won’t meet the guarantee of 90% of 4,936 kWh this year. I don’t know how credible it will be arguing that every year’s weather is significantly different to Flextronics predictions.
It is not acceptable that SSROC representing at least 11 local Councils has partnered with a company with such dodgy marketing. One of the persuasive aspects of the proposal is that people trust their local Council.

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If you are suitably close to a site where global solar exposure is calculated, it should be fairly easy to figure out if weather was a significant contributor.

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Thanks Gordon,
Is there any list of sites? I live in Leichhardt in the Inner West of Sydney.

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The nearest weather station is Canterbury. …about 4.2km away

http://www.bom.gov.au/places/nsw/leichhardt/

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Is it possible to upload (e.g scan or photos) the proposal and install guarantee (with any personal or identifying info removed). It may allow forum members to better understand your installed agreement.

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Beat me to it :slight_smile:

for the data:
http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=193&p_display_type=dailyDataFile&p_startYear=&p_c=&p_stn_num=066036

Here is the Flextronics letter advising that Skybridge is handling warranties, with contact info:

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Monthly graph of global solar exposure showing 2019, mean, highest and lowest for your nearest station:

http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_display_type=dataSGraph&p_stn_num=066036&p_nccObsCode=193&p_month=13&p_startYear=2019

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Hi @christinathomas

Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about your experiences. I empathise with you…

I have been fighting Energy Matters/Fextronics since 2012** trying to get a very substandard installation which allowed a large amount of water to leak into our bedroom ceiling causing significant damage and black mold. There may be structural damage too, but until the ceiling and roof are taken off we can’t tell.

As @gordon said, Flextronics have left Australia. Even though I was promised by their senior legal officer that everything would be fixed up, we were passed over to an international firm of solicitors when Flex closed down. The solicitor handling my file at the firm specialises in insolvancy. Not a good omen. I have been continuing the battle to have my installation and roof repaired with this firm since Flex’s departure last year.

Now to your case; I suspect you won’t get anywhere because Skybridge (Skybridge Telecommunications) is a totally seperate business entity to Flextronics, and is only a service provider to Flex.

If you read the notice sent by Flextronics (we got it 2019 03 13) advising closure, it doesn’t say

it says that
" In this regard, the warranty on your installed solar system will now be serviced by Skybridge, a national third party provider of field service solutions well known in the Australian market.

Accordingly, should you have an enquiry about your system under warranty, you should now contact Skybridge".

So Skybridge are not the manufacturers, nor the retailers; they are merely agents carrying out warranty repairs.

We have had legal advice and were told that as Flextronics have left the country, we would have to take Flextronics to court overseas if we wanted to persue legal action. Not a cheap exercise and not one we can afford! I suspect you will get the same answer through your processes.

I am afraid you will expend a lot of resources only to find you are in caught in a dead end. I very much hope I am wrong and wish you all the best in you fight.

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Can you post a graph of weekly or monthly output for the year? That would help me determine how much your output might be down, and how much might be attributable to weather. Also daily output graphs on a few sunny days through the year could be useful.
Is there any shading of your system during the day? Have any trees grown to increase shading? Any TV aerials or pipes casting shadows on the array? An average sized TV antenna can reduce output by up to 20%.

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It take that means manufacturer product warranties rather than rectify problems relating to production or installation issues. So in other words, they are the service agent for the manufacturer.

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Is it also worth considering whether the inverter is configured to cut back output in response to high mains voltage of it is in fact an issue for the site being considered? Additionally some inverters also reduce output due to thermal limitations and limited cooling of the inverter electronics (semiconductor packs).

It would be interesting to know if there are also outs in the performance guarantee based on either of these factors.

Which is why I asked for daily graphs :slight_smile:

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Thanks very much for your advice, Gordon. Skybridge did send a technician to check that our system was working properly. We sent him a couple of weeks of data. He said it was working fine and he was pretty dismissive of the performance guarantee. I think the next step for us is to go back to Fair Trading and discuss these ‘get out’ clauses before proceeding to the Tribunal.
Thanks also to the BBG and PHB for your advice.

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